The Disappointment Zone

Musings from a Cleveland sports fan

Archive for November 6th, 2007

The Varejao Saga Continues

Posted by disappointmentzone on 6 November 2007

About sixteen hours after reported that Varejao was open to signing a one-year offer for the mid-level exception — a deal worth approximately $5 million — new reports indicate that the Cavs have no interest in such a deal. The consensus is that the Cavs have no interest in signing Varejao to anything other than a long-term contract.

Here’s why they’re balking at Varejao’s offer:

* Spending in the NBA is down — way down — from years past. Most teams aren’t throwing huge amounts of money at free agents as many teams are either approaching the luxury tax (like the Cavs) or exceeding it (like the Knicks). For every dollar over the salary cap a team goes they must pay a dollar for the luxury tax. This is highly costly, which is why you’re seeing teams like the Suns sell off some of their pieces for next to nothing. Avoiding that tax threshold is an aim for any sensible organization.

Which is why there isn’t a huge market for Varejao at the price he’s seeking. Furthermore, since Varejao is a restricted free agent the Cavs would be able to match any offer another team makes, so other teams are reluctant to enter into contract negotiations with Varejao because they know there is a huge chance that the Cavs wouldn’t let him go. In order to pry Varejao from the Cavs, then, a team would probably have to exceed his free market value. That’s just not happening.

* If Varejao doesn’t play in the NBA this season — if he goes and plays in Europe, say — that does not change his free agency status. In order to become an unrestricted free agent Varejao must play another season in the NBA. Going to Europe isn’t much of a threat since all it would do is prolong the limbo Varejao finds him in. In the meantime he’d likely be exposing himself to injury while making less money (few teams in Europe have the means to spend like an NBA team). This is a big risk for Varejao. The costs do not exceed the gains.

* Without a market to sign him at a price he wants and without recourse to other basketball leagues, Varejao is essentially left with a one-year contract. Sources say that Varejao is open to signing a one-year contract provided that it’s for the mid-level exception. But the Cavs could sign him for as little as a $1.2 million qualifying offer. In a one-year contract stare-down the Cavs hold all the cards. The only reason to sign him for $5 million is that it will get him here sooner (presumably). But doing so would put the Cavs over the luxury tax and it would mean ceding the power in the negotiation.

Right now Varejao is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The Cavs hold all the power in this negotiation, which is why they haven’t caved and which is why they don’t appear to be interested in the $5 million offer. All Varejao has working for him is the possibility that the team will be crippled without him. The worse the Cavs do the stronger his negotiating position becomes, but a 1-2 record in three games isn’t close to what’s needed to tip the scales in his favor. This is looking like a holdout that’s going to continue.


Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | 3 Comments »

New season, same Hughes

Posted by disappointmentzone on 6 November 2007

The season is only three days old but Larry Hughes is already in mid-season form. He is 9-33 from the field for a whopping 27% shooting percentage. This is dismally low, but when you look closely at the numbers the picture is even bleaker.

Here are the shooting charts for Hughes from each game of the season, courtesy of CBS

Game 1: Dallas


Game 2: New York


Game 3: Phoenix


Here is are the real numbers to focus on: 4, 22.

4: The number of jump shots Hughes has made.

22: The number of jump shots Hughes has attempted.




Quick. Which is more depressing: the fact that 67% of Hughes’s attempts have been from a distance at which he shoots only 18% or the fact that on dunks and lay-ups he’s only shooting 45%?

Not only is Hughes not shooting well, but he keeps insisting upon shooting! Not only does he keep insisting upon shooting, but he keeps insisting upon shooting from a distance at which he’s a monumentally bad shooter! When he does go inside he converts at a rate far below the league average, which means that even at his best Hughes is still completely, utterly inefficient. Factor in the lack of assists, the number of turnovers, the number of fouls, the lack of rebound, the lack of blocks, the lack of pretty much anything positive whatsoever — what you get is a player who is not good.

This is one cloud that has no silver lining. Larry Hughes is not a good basketball player.

Oh, and he’s hurt himself yet again. His minutes will be limited tonight due to a contusion.


Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers, statistics | 2 Comments »

Varejao close to signing?

Posted by disappointmentzone on 6 November 2007

According to a report published very early this morning by SI basketball writer Marty Burns, Anderson Varejao is prepared to sign a one-year contract worth the mid-level exception of roughly $5 million. He had been seeking a contract worth upwards of $50 million over six years.

Were the Cavs to offer such a deal and were Varejao to sign it this would mean a number of things. First, the Cavs’ core of talented players from last season would finally be intact. Varejao was one of the most productive players on the team last season and his value to the team this season cannot but overstated. The Cavs would go over the luxury tax line with this contract, but it wouldn’t prohibitively affect the team’s financial situation. The Cavs wouldn’t be the Knicks.

Second, Varejao would be free to test the open market after the season as an unrestricted free agent. Next to a long-term deal from the Cavs right now, free agency is his best option for getting paid what he feels he should be paid. This also means that the Cavs would be shielded against any liability beyond this season, which is certainly an advantageous position for them.

Third, the Cavs would still have Bird Rights for Varejao, which means that they could exceed the salary cap to resign him should they decide that he really is worth locking up long-term. Taking one more season to gather evidence is never a bad option if it doesn’t mean necessarily forfeiting your right to a player’s future. The Bird Rights would also allow the Cavs to sign-and-trade Varejao, which is another potential benefit for the team.

There has been a lot of speculation about what the Cavs have offered Varejao, what Varejao is truly worth, and how far the Cavs should go to sign him. A $1.2 million qualifying offer is far below his value and the $50 million contract he’s seeking is probably more than the market will bear (which is not to say that within the overall scheme of things that he’s not worth that much money). Offering him the full mid-level exception looks like a smart move especially if he’s willing to sign.

Donyell Marshall is hurt. Zydrunas Ilgauskas isn’t getting younger. Dwayne Jones is still a project. And Drew Gooden is flaky. The Cavs need Varejao. Let’s hope he signs soon.

Posted in Cleveland Cavaliers | 1 Comment »